RORC IRC Double-Handed National Championships – Will Harris, Hugh Brayshaw, Mary Rook and Conrad Manning will race in the National Championships, hosted by the Royal Southampton Yacht Club this weekend – 18th and 19th September.
Comprised of two coastal races and a longer passage race in the Solent, the IRC Double-Handed National Championships are the perfect start to the Academy’s training process, as Artemis Offshore Academy Sailing Team Manager Charles Darbyshire explained: “Some good competitive double handed racing is a great introduction to the autumn programme. Training will continue into October with an intensive three weeks of shore-based work, hosted by the University of Southampton’s Sports and Well Being Centre.
Training will be run like a ‘Boot Camp’, with a concentrated training period which aims to build strength and fitness, as well as teaching other ‘must have’ skills such as first aid, sea survival and the collation of marketing tools and internet/social media training. The first on the water coaching will begin in November.”
Thirty-eight double-handed crews will take part in the event, including three Academy Figaros. Potential 2016 Solitaire du Figaro Rookies, Brayshaw and Rook will compete against Harris and Manning in the Championship – the first test of their aptitude and short-handed potential.
“I’m looking forward to the IRC Double-Handed National Championships even though it is a trial,” Rook commented. “I’m not worried that other sailors are more experienced than me because experience is what I’m looking to gain from this race.
I’d like to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race, so I really want to learn more about offshore sailing. The one design Figaro is one of the hardest boats to sail offshore and since that’s the Academy’s specialty, there’s no better place to learn.”
Racing aboard the third Academy boat is one of the most famous names in solo sailing, Mike Golding, who will once again team up with 2015 Academy Solitaire skipper Andrew Baker. An honorary member of the Royal Southampton Yacht Club, Golding will be looking to bring home the silverware for his club.
“The pressure is on for the IRC Double Handed Nationals. With more than 30 teams, shorter races and all held under IRC handicap, we will be seriously challenged to repeat the success of our RORC race to Cherbourg,” Golding reported. “Hammy (Baker) and I hadn’t sailed together before the race, nor had I sailed the Figaro II, so our winning result was something of a surprise.”
Golding continued: “We know that all things being equal, we are quite capable of delivering good results, but I also know whatever happens on the water, Hammy and I will have enjoyed racing together. And that’s a great way to begin any regatta.”
An Ambassador for the Artemis Offshore Academy, Golding gave considerable input to the initial development of the British solo sailing centre in 2010. Five years on, the recruitment and training process begins again for a sixth generation of British Solitaire du Figaro Rookies.
RORC IRC Double-Handed National Championship Academy crew
Artemis 23 – Mike Golding/Andrew Baker
Artemis 37 – Mary Rook/Hugh Brayshaw
Artemis 77 – Will Harris/Conrad Manning